Where Do We Stand? Women in May’s Comics and Graphic Novel Sales
With the Secret Wars and Convergence titles at every turn, how are sales faring? And more importantly, where are the women?
May’s big single issue comic winner was Secret Wars #1. It’s not surprising, since many folks wanted to check out the Secret Wars hype. The fact that it had cover art by Alex Ross probably didn’t hurt sales either. Big events are clogging up the top ten with three Secret Wars titles, two Star Wars, and two Convergence. Marvel’s still holding a strong grasp on the top ten singles with seven titles in the top ten. DC is lagging behind with two, and BOOM! sneaks in to grab one as well. The mighty women of Marvel, the A-Force, nab the number six spot. If you’re like me and wondering where Princess Leia falls in all this—since she was queen of the mountain in March with Princess Leia #1 and holding on with spot ten last month with Princess Leia #3—don’t fret. I double checked the date and Princess Leia #4 didn’t hit until June 3. We’ll have to wait until next month to see if how it fares.
In graphic novels and trades, the hardcover Batman: Earth One Vol. 2 takes top billing. Lady and LGBT friendly Rat Queens Vol. 2 makes the cut too. Saga continues to kick butt with both Volume 1 and Volume 4 in the top ten.
When browsing their local comic book shops, readers would have found that the top ten single issues included only seven issues with women on the covers. This month was still all about the group shot on covers, but some titles did better than others. A-Force #1 was all women, so it gets an A+. The cover of Bravest Warriors: Tales of Holo John #1 is mainly focused on monsters, but a girl is fighting one. Star Wars #5 prominently features Leia, and Secret Wars #1 has Captain Marvel small, but smack dab in the center. Graphic novels and trades slip this month with only five that included women. The women that are included seem to have agency in their titles.
Finally, after two months without any female representation on the single issue creative teams, we have some talented women. Marvel has Marguerite Bennett writing for A-Force #1, DC had Sandra Hope doing art for Convergence #5, and BOOM! saw Kat Leth as part of the creative powerhouse for Bravest Warriors: Tales of Holo John #1.
Trades and graphic novels give us three this month, but Saga skews the numbers a tad by having two volumes in the list. Fiona Staples represents for Saga Vol. 1 and Saga Vol. 4, but the most interesting is the collected reprint for Night Nurse, which includes the work of Linda Fite and Jean Thomas and cover art by Siya Oum.
On the New York Times’ list, Raina Telgemeier is still holding strong, but there’s a new title on the hardcover list I’m watching: The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. You know, Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, who also happened to be a young twenty-seven year old woman. The title debuted on the list and remained for several weeks. Other than that, there was a ton of movement on the weekly lists for May. Of note, crossover titles of Ms. Marvel Vol. 2, Saga Vol. 4, and Rat Queens Vol. 2 made appearances throughout the month.
Thankfully, female representation is looking up this month after a drab April. Fingers crossed that the Big Two continue to include women on creative teams. Female fans are out here, waiting and watching.
Each month, Diamond Comics Distributors releases data on the top selling products from single issue comics, to graphic novels and trade paperbacks, to toys. Their sales data represents items sold through comic book shops.
I also include information from the New York Times’ weekly bestsellers’ list for graphic books. Their list comprises sales data for items sold through venues other than comic book shops, like bookstores. As it’s weekly, it won’t be an exact picture of all the days in the month, but it’s a valuable way to see what fans who aren’t buying at comic shops are reading.